The Israeli occupation forces continue their aggression against the Gaza Strip for the 116th day in a row, committing “13 massacres” against families in the Strip in 24 hours, claiming the lives of 114 martyrs, raising the death toll to 26,751 and the wounded to 65,636 others as of Tuesday.
The death toll from the Israeli war on the Gaza Strip has risen to 26,751 martyrs and 65,636 injuries since October 7, 2023.
The Palestinian Ministry of Health in the Gaza Strip said in a statement, on Tuesday, that “on the 116th day of the brutal Israeli aggression on the Gaza Strip, the Israeli occupation (forces) committed 13 massacres against families in the Gaza Strip, claiming 114 martyrs and 249 injuries during the past 24 hours.” .
The statement said, “There are still a number of victims under the rubble and on the roads, and the occupation is preventing ambulance and civil defense crews from reaching them.”
He added that the number of victims had risen since last October 7 to “26,751 martyrs and 65,636 injuries.”
Martyrs amid continuing battles
In this context, the Palestinian Wafa News Agency reported that a number of civilians were martyred and injured in a bombing by occupation aircraft that targeted the Al-Rimal neighborhood in Gaza City.
The agency said that occupation aircraft bombed three houses in the Al-Rimal neighborhood over the heads of their residents, leading to the death and injury of a number of citizens.
Meanwhile, eyewitnesses said that Israeli planes and tanks bombed areas in Gaza City, also in the north of the Strip, while gunfire and clashes were heard in Beit Lahia and Jabalia, which are close to Gaza City.
The Al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of the Hamas movement, as well as the Islamic Jihad movement, said that fighters clashed with Israeli forces in several areas across the Strip last night. Hamas said that Al-Qassam Brigades fighters destroyed two Israeli tanks in Khan Yunis.
Siege of hospitals
On the ground, the Israeli occupation forces continue their siege of the Nasser Medical Complex and Al-Amal Hospital in Khan Yunis, south of the Gaza Strip.
Medical sources reported to the Palestinian Wafa Agency that the Israeli occupation is tightening its siege on the Nasser Medical Complex for the second week, placing 150 medical personnel, 450 wounded, and 3,000 displaced people under targeting.
She indicated that the electrical generators in the Nasser Medical Complex will stop within two days due to the lack of fuel, and that there is an accumulation of waste in the complex’s sections and courtyards, and the occupation refuses to allow it to be transported abroad.
The Palestinian Red Crescent also announced that the occupation continues to target the vicinity of Al-Amal Hospital in the city of Khan Yunis, south of the Gaza Strip, and its marches continue to issue orders to evacuate residents in the vicinity of the hospital and in the Al-Amal neighborhood.
“Hunger is a weapon”
Meanwhile, Rami Abdo, head of the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Watch, said that Israel is using “hunger” as a weapon to expel the residents of the Gaza Strip and even kill them.
Abdo explained in statements that Gaza is suffering from a “severe shortage” of food supplies and that the amount of aid arriving has decreased from an average of 500 trucks before the war to less than 100 currently.
He added that only between 50 and 100 aid trucks arrived in northern Gaza in the past 100 days, and that there is severe hunger and shortages in everything in the region.
He stated, “People are starving to death. More than half a million Palestinians are suffering due to harsh winter conditions and lack of food.”
The head of Human Rights Watch added: “We are talking about deliberate starvation, especially in northern Gaza, and children are the most affected by this situation.”
New countries join its boycott, Is UNRWA being used as a means of blackmailing the Palestinians?
In violation of an interim ruling by the International Court of Justice ordering Israel to take immediate measures to deliver humanitarian aid to Palestinians in Gaza, more than 10 countries adopted Israel’s narrative, rushing to suspend aid to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA).
In a new effort to increase pressure on the Palestinians in light of the ongoing Israeli aggression on the Gaza Strip for more than three months, an increasing number of donor countries have decided to suspend their funding to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) following the agency’s dismissal of 12 of its employees – out of 13,000 employees. – Friday, after Israel accused them of involvement in the “Al-Aqsa Flood” attack on October 7, 2023.
As a result of this accusation, the US State Department directly announced that it had “temporarily stopped additional funding for the agency in Gaza,” and other Western countries followed suit: Germany, Britain, Italy, Finland, the Netherlands, Australia, Canada, followed by Japan, Romania, Austria, and Estonia, while Switzerland said it had not yet made a decision on whether to approve funding for 2024 until the Israeli allegations are resolved.
On the other hand, Norway, Ireland and Spain announced that they would continue to support UNRWA.
For its part, the Palestinian Authority confirmed on Saturday that UNRWA needs “support” and not “stopping support and aid,” and accused Israel of launching a campaign of incitement “aimed at liquidating the agency.” Meanwhile, the Jordanian and Egyptian Foreign Ministers stressed the need not to punish UNRWA collectively.
What is meant by “UNRWA”?
UNRWA is the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East. Following the Palestinian Nakba, the United Nations General Assembly established UNRWA in 1949 and mandated it to provide humanitarian assistance and protection to Palestine refugees registered in the Agency’s areas of operations until a just and lasting solution to their plight is achieved.
In May 1950, the agency actually began operations. UNRWA operates in the West Bank, which includes East Jerusalem, the Gaza Strip, Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria.
UNRWA is funded almost entirely through voluntary contributions from UN member states, and its missions are renewed periodically.
UNRWA helps more than 5.9 million Palestine refugees , including about 1.8 million refugees in the Gaza Strip, to achieve their full potential in human development, through the qualitative services it provides in the fields of education, health care, relief and social services, protection, infrastructure and camp improvement, microfinance, in addition to emergency aid.
While UNRWA has been trying to heal the wounds of the Palestinians for more than 73 years, its facilities were repeatedly bombed by Israel, which killed about 150 employees of this agency, and destroyed and destroyed tons of food and medicine.
Not the first time
This is not the time that funding for UNRWA has been suspended, as the Palestinians see it as a means to blackmail them and pressure them to give up the right of return for millions of refugees who were displaced in 1948. In 2018, the United States, headed by Donald Trump, stopped its annual financial aid amounting to $300 million to the agency. .
At the time, Israel not only welcomed Trump’s decision, which came within what is known as the “Deal of the Century,” but also accused UNRWA of “prolonging the Israeli-Palestinian conflict” by enshrining the principle of the right of return.
Despite Trump’s Middle East advisor’s call to end the work of UNRWA in 2019, Washington resumed providing funding after the election of Joe Biden as president starting in 2021.
In violation of an interim ruling issued by the International Court of Justice, Israel continues its attack on the Gaza Strip, where about 27,000 Palestinians have been killed, most of them women and children, and another 65,000 have been injured since the start of the Israeli aggression on the Gaza Strip, which also led to the displacement of 85% of Gaza’s population. Internally, amid a severe shortage of food, clean water, and medicines, while 60% of the sector’s infrastructure was damaged or destroyed, according to the United Nations.
Despite all these losses of lives and property, and in light of the unprecedented famine striking the Strip due to the stifling siege that prevents food, water and medicine from reaching millions of people besieged in the Gaza Strip, more than 12 countries were quick to cut off their financial aid to the agency that serves about 1.8 million refugees in the Gaza Strip. Gaza strip.
The ICJ ruling states that “Israel must take immediate and effective measures to enable it to provide essential services and much-needed humanitarian assistance to address the adverse living conditions faced by Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.” These measures aim to prevent irreparable harm to Palestinian rights.
But in a “shocking” move, the countries that stopped funding the agency forgot this decision, and also forgot about the bombing of the agency’s educational, health and service facilities and the killing of more than 150 of its employees at the hands of Israel in the past three months, and they were quick to believe the Israeli story that was not supported by evidence.
For his part, Philippe Lazzarini , Commissioner-General of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), said: “It is shocking to see the suspension of the agency’s funding as a kind of reaction to the allegations against a small group of employees, especially in light of the measures taken by the UN agency that “More than two million people depend on it to survive.”
Lazzarini added: “UNRWA is the main humanitarian agency in Gaza, with more than two million people relying on it for their survival. Many are suffering from hunger as the hour of famine looms on the horizon. The agency runs shelters for more than a million people and provides food and health care.” priority even at the height of hostilities.